Wake and Bake: Moroccan Almond Phyllo Pastries

Carrie Vasios

The world of phyllo pastries is wide, ranging from sweet to savory to petite bird nests to giant coils. I'm pretty sure I haven't found one I didn't love and I'm always excited to try a new version. The latest on my radar was m'hanncha, a pastry from Morocco in which phyllo dough is filled with almond paste and wound into a giant coil.

There are many variations—some add orange blossom water, some go halfsies with pistachios—but I wanted something that was more appropriate to breakfast than to dessert. The filling is made by grinding together almonds, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, eggs, and vanilla in the food processor until it becomes a paste. Butter-coated sheets of phyllo are stacked on each other, topped with the filling, then rolled jelly-roll style into a rope. Instead of one big coil, I wind these into smaller snails which can easily be portioned for breakfast.

The result? Buttery phyllo shards shattering into almonds sweetened with confectioners sugar and cinnamon, all washed down with a cup of hot, sweet mint tea. In other words, breakfast heaven.